by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier
Allderdice basketball coach Andre McDonald says he is confident that his team will be a solid contender for its third consecutive City League championship this season.
However, he also believes that there will be a surprise team in the League this season.
“I think Carrick is going to shock some people this year,” McDonald said. “They’ll have some good athletes and will hang in there from what I’ve seen out of certain players of theirs over the summer.”
BEN MICKENS (William McBride/File Photos)
Allderdice will return two of their stars from last year’s title team in junior guard Justin Dobbs and forward Ben Mickens who were each very key players as tenth graders.
They also will experience one of the most dramatic drop-offs in the City with the departure of seven players due to graduation, including the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Player of the Year Ishmeal Swain, who averaged a team-high 16.3 points per game.
“Guys like Mickens and Dobbs are both young and experienced,” McDonald said. “They will come in along with our seniors (6-4 Cameron Bailey) and (6-3 Eric Mallinger) and will be competitive. That’s our goal every single year and we won’t settle for anything less than that.”
Carrick will feature some guys who will move from the field-turf surface at Cupples Stadium to the hardwood as multi-sport performers. 5-10 guard Rasheed McKamey and 6-0 junior Jajuan Thomas will head up that list for the Raiders.
“We will have some definite challenges going into the season,” Carrick coach Walt Millinski said. “One of things is eligibility. As of now, all our key guys are eligible. We want them to get better at that. We plan to make sure that they take accountability for their stuff in the classroom so that they can come out and perform.”
Perry will return starters in senior guard Marcus Smith and 6-3 forward Greg McGhee. As the runner-up in the City, they will be one of the teams to beat as well.
“We’re gonna be a very tough team this year,” Perry coach Marco Corona said. “Allderdice’s talent is off the chart. I believe that they have better talent than us but we will come out and compete at our highest level. The games are electric and may be even more so this year.”
“I fully expect Perry to be tough again this year,” McDonald said. “You can never leave them out of the equation for those who will be left to compete for the title, when it’s time next year.”
Oliver will be devastated by an 11-man drop off in the 2010-11 season due to graduation.
“Coach White does such great work at Oliver but man did they lose a lot of guys this year,” McDonald said. “They may need some time to rebuild but I expect them to be back soon.”
But when it comes down to it, despite being picked to be a surprise, coach Millinski deeply believes that it will be Allderdice’s league—once again, this season.
“It’s really nice of (McDonald) to say that,” Millinski said. “But I think it will be Allderdice back on top this year. No doubt about it. It’s just the way that it’s been over the past few years and I think that they still have that momentum.”